The American hophornbeam is also commonly called ironwood, due to its extremely hard and dense wood. The tree’s leaves are dark green and sharply serrated, resembling birch leaves. This tree produces seed-bearing pods that resemble hops, hence its common name. It attracts small mammals and birds.
Family: Betulaceae (Birch)
Characteristics: The 2-5 inch long leaves are dark green and sharply serrated, resembling birch leaves. In the fall, leaves turn to a yellow-brown. In April, the worm-like, yellow-brown, male catkins begin to bloom. The female catkins are insignificant, though give way to seed-bearing pods that resemble hops. Bark is gray-brown and flakey. This tree has a pyramidal shape when young and becomes rounded with age. It grows 25-40 feet high and wide.
Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)
Geographic Origin: Eastern North America, Mexico (native)
Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenance. Does best in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist and well drained soils.
Number on Campus: 2
Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden